Grand Hyatt Kauai - Review

Discussion in 'Hyatt | Gold Passport' started by rajuabju, Feb 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. rajuabju
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    rajuabju Gold Member

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    Well, I just stayed at the GH Kauai recently for my honeymoon, figured I should start the review thread on MilePoint for it.

    I'm a Diamond member, and used a Suite Upgrade Cert. Was given a fantastic Ocean Suite (roughly 1,300sf). From other threads around, the Suites at the GH Kauai have not yet been renovated, but may be in the near future. Most of the other rooms are already completed.

    The room was 1bed/1bath, with a nice sitting area & dining table. Large lanai with a great ocean view. Because the suites are not yet updated, the furniture was a bit dated, but still in fantastic and clean condition. I'd rate the room 10/10.

    IMO, the service was simply above and beyond. I've truly never experienced service on a level like this before at any hotel I've ever been to. Staff was always friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. Although all of our requests (like extra water bottles, changing towels daily) were relatively minor, staff did their best to exceed all requests and make certain we were happy. Concierge was exceptional with their suggestions and follow-up. Staff/service rating: 10/10

    The Grand Club Room was fantastic. I know some people have said that it can get busy at times, but every breakfast we had was great. It was quiet, mostly empty (we ate early, probably before people with kids came in). We also visited for the afternoon snacks (the brownies and cookies were awesome). More tables would have been nice, but the overall layout and offerings are above average, IMO. Grand club rating: 9/10 (just cause of the fruit flies which were a minor annoyance, but I think the whole island is infested)

    The Annara Spa was wonderful, albeit expensive. We had booked their top line couples package (almost $1,200) but let me just say it was well worth it. 6 hours of total bliss. The 15% off coupon that was left in our room since we were on our honeymoon was a nice touch by the hotel, and much appreciated. I visited the spa almost daily, and the wife made full use of the gym facilities and various classes they offered. Spa rating: 10/10.

    I saw/heard absolutely no construction work. I know some stuff is going on with the room renovations, but the hotel has done a fantastic job to keep it totally out of view. The overall hotel condition looks very good. Of course the landscaping is incredible, but even just generally speaking, it shows what a great maintenance job they do. Overall hotel condition: 9/10

    Stevenson Library was fun, food at Tidepools and the Ilimai Terrace were very good. Ordered room service once, and the grilled cheese was damn good lol. Did not check out the other dining options as we wanted to spend time out of the hotel as well. Dining rating: 9/10 ($35 for 18-Y/O Macallan? Wow thats pricey!)

    We did all sorts of activities... the spa, ATV ride, Napali boat tour, chilling in cabana’s by the pool, great dinners. Did not bother going to Princeville at all. One thing we missed doing was Waimea canyon, but that will be for another visit.

    My overall rating of the hotel is 10/10. There really is not much more they could have done to improve our stay. Again, I want to mention the amazing service we received from all staff.

    I had stayed at the GH Kauai back in 1991, not long after it had first opened, as a 10 year old kid with my family. I can’t believe it took me song long to come back, but both my wife and I agree our next visit to Kauai will not be so far apart.

    I would highly recommend this hotel to everyone, especially for a Suite upgrade.
     
  2. Lighthouse
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    Lighthouse Gold Member

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    rajuabju, Congratulations!
    The architecture of the main building, courtyard and terraces and the landscaping of this property are extremely impressive. There are a number of ultra luxury hotels in Hawaii that do not even come close in their design and landscaping and making you feel that you are in Hawaii.
     
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  3. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    This is a fine hotel, the largest employer on the island of Kaua'i. The GM really does get it, and that means the staff gets it too. Hyatt elites are treated well here. It is a great place to stay, I would be happy to stay here again.
     
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  4. endodoc79
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    endodoc79 Silver Member

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    As stated by a fellow FT the GH Kauai is a little bit of heaven on earth. It is in the style of old Hawaii. The staff in the Grand Club are top notch and go out of their way to please. We have stayed there during President's week the past few years with our children and everyone has loved it.
    This property served a complete line of alcoholic beverages from mimosas at breakfast, champagne, wines during the evening, and cordials with dessert. The complimentary alcoholic beverages seemed to add to the island feel. Can anyone comment on the effect of Hyatt's recemt policy change concerning complimentary alcohol in the US clubs on the overall experience?
     
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  5. FriendlySkies
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    FriendlySkies Gold Member

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    Seems like all of the Hawaii properties have great staff. Sounds like Hyatt cloned the staff from the Waikiki front desk and RC :D

    I like that they still serve free alcohol in the Grand Club. IIRC, the Waikiki HR charges for drinks.
     
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  6. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    Mrs. Seaflyguy and I will be at the GH Kauai for our honeymoon next month. As a Diamond member on an award stay, in general, what sort of room should I expect?
     
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  7. tigerwong
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    tigerwong Silver Member

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    I didn't get much of an upgrade on my 5 day FFN stay. They put me on the second level with a pool view. My understanding is that repeat Diamonds have much better luck. Regardless, there is so much to do at the hotel, let alone the island, that you cannot go wrong with this property.

    PS - favorite unmentioned perk is the wash room to do laundry.
     
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  8. rajuabju
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    rajuabju Gold Member

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    IMO, you should "expect" exactly the room you booked, unless you used a Suite Upgrade.

    If they decide to upgrade you on their own, all the better, but remember that honeymoon couples in Hawaii are like coconuts, they're everywhere, even Diamond members.

    They will give you a 25% off coupon for the Spa (I think thats the % we got), and I HIGHLY recommend you use it. The spa at the GH Kauai is absolutely fabulous, especially their higher end couples packages.

    Try to ask for a room in the Poipu wing. It's near the Club room & Spa.
     
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  9. Kaanapali
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    Kaanapali Gold Member

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    Agree - this comment can be made with regard to any reservation with any hotel regardless of status with a Reward/Loyalty program: book the room you want....or would be happy to stay in. If you want higher level, nicer room etc, book it. Any upgrade is nice...but should not be really expected.

    That being said, the GH Kauai (like other hotels in Hawaii...including other brand places like the Westin Moana) do treat their return guests better with regard to upgrades. We have been here several times and almost always now get an upgrade to OV no matter what GV we book. (Suite upgrades of course are another matter!)

    The only difference is that as Diamond with Hyatt, you will get a Club level room....and although that can typically be in the Poipu wing...it is not always there!
     
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  10. Halothane
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    Halothane Silver Member

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    Just returned from another fantastic stay at the property! Received a suite upgrade that was much appreciated! Renovations are nice. Staff pleasant and as fantastic as always. We're already planning our return trip.
     
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  11. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    I didn't mean "expect" in an entitlement sense. I mean "expect" in the sense of, "what rooms are Diamonds on award stays typically receiving of late?" In the sense that I don't expect an Ocean View Townhouse Spa Suite when I book an award room at the Highlands Inn, but I know that Diamonds often receive them, and considered myself fortunate enough to receive one when I stayed their on FFNs last year.
     
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  12. todorovic
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    todorovic Active Member

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    My experience with GH Kauai has been above great. Every time we were there (going to be there for the fifth time this March) we were upgraded to the full ocean view (most times from the garden view room).

    To answer the question posed above regarding the alcohol in the club, the recent reports that I'm aware of state that there is an honor bar in place now. I will have the first hand experience in about a month and will update you at that time if we don't hear from someone else by then.
     
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  13. Kaanapali
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    Kaanapali Gold Member

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    The honor bar system here has been in place since the middle of last September (2010) I believe. We were here in October and the system was in place - basically cards on which you write the number of wine or mixed drinks you have had for that evening, your room number and of course your signature.

    To answer the typical upgrade question (ime): A Diamond on an award stay will get a Club Room, and sometimes the full ocean view. A Diamond who books a GV room will get a Club Room, typically the FOV room. Sometimes you can do better :)
     
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  14. raysian
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    raysian Silver Member

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    Best resort on the south side of the island.
     
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  15. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    Which implies you think there is a better resort elsewhere on the island. Do you really think Princeville, for example, is better? Be interesting to know and know why.
     
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  16. Kaanapali
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    Kaanapali Gold Member

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    If he thinks there is another resort (besides Princeville) that is better, that would even be more interesting :)!
     
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  17. BOS Boy

    BOS Boy Active Member

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    I was last there in 2009 - I need to go back soon. Absolutely wonderful place.

    Do they still give diamonds free access to the pool and saunas at the spa?
     
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  18. Halothane
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    Halothane Silver Member

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    Yes, Diamonds still receive complimentary access to Anara Spa.

    I also had my resort fee waived for being a repeat guest (was on a revenue stay) but had difficulties with that at check out as it was on my bill. Fortunately, the person that checked me in was on duty that day and verified that she did indeed waive my resort fee.
     
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  19. Kaanapali
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    Kaanapali Gold Member

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    My last time here (fall 2010) I also had the resort fee waived on a revenue stay, but had to go through a song and dance routine at check out. Was finally told that it was being waived as a "courtesy". This had been my 5th visit to the property (second as diamond). So, fwiw, if you do not like what you are being told at checkout and you are a repeat guest, kindly ask to speak to another agent.
     
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  20. I booked three FFN's for last August. This was my first experience at a Hyatt Resort as a platinum member, and I was very impressed. I was upgraded to a newly remodeled oceanfront room on an upper floor, and a very nice fruit and cheese tray was waiting as we used a platinum amenity certificate. Resort, self-parking, and internet fees were all automatically waived. The customer service was outstanding, and, the grounds were beautiful. Most importantly, we had so much fun! We were on a family vacation, and there were tons of family friendly activities to do! Kayaking and scuba lessons in the salt-water lagoon along with the endless swimming pools (complete with waterfalls and hidden caves). I cannot think of a single negative!
     
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  21. 415flyer

    415flyer Active Member

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    With two young children, the laundry room was an especially useful perk of the property during our stay in July '10. I'd echo the top notch customer service of the OP.
     
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  22. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    I'm at the GH Kauai right now for my marriage and honeymoon. This is my first visit here and at last I see what all the fuss is about. It's a stunning place.

    The kindness and humor of the person who checked us in impressed us both, so much so that we've picked up a small gift for her and will give it to her the next time she's on duty. We've been consistently impressed by others here as well. There is the attendant who, when asked for directions from the main lobby to the Grand Club (we were a bit lost the first morning), insisted on walking us there, had great stories about the hotel for us along the way, and who suggested more than once that if we needed anything, to call and ask for him by name. And there the valets who learned our name by the second day and greet us as such. I'm not sure how they do that given how many people stay here.

    Our check-in clerk upgraded us from a garden view room to an ocean view room. We're on the fifth floor, in a renovated room close to the spa and to the Grand Club, and it's extremely comfortable. If I had to quibble, I'd say that the mattress is a little mushy, but then I'm very much a firm mattress kind of person, so that may just be me. The only other quibble I'd have is the lack of a ventilation fan in the toilet alcove. But these are minor, minor issues. The room is wonderful and we're about as happy as we could be with it.

    In theory, the downside of the resort's location is that Shipwreck Beach is just to the east of the point that divides the east side and south sides of Kauai. This has a big effect on surf conditions. Less than a mile to the west, Poipu Beach and the beaches beyond are swimmable when Shipwreck isn't. However, the upside is that the loud surf of Shipwreck means that you can sleep at night to the sound of waves crashing, which I find quite soothing. And Hyatt has compensated for the surf conditions by building an extensive pool system, including a large, winding salt water lagoon that we love. Also, it's a two-minute drive to Poipu, or a moderate walk for those so inclined. Plus, if Hyatt were right on, say, Poipu Beach, then there would be hordes of people here, like there are at Poipu. So I just don't see the location as a downside, contrary to what I might have thought before arriving here.

    We've eaten at Stevenson's Library (sushi on weekend evenings) and at Ilima Terrace and liked them both. The view from the balcony at Stevenson's was wonderful, and the resident swan at Ilima was cute -- as promised, she really does like it when you talk to her like she's a dog (though I think that's because she knows such talk is likely to be followed by a treat).

    We have yet to try Anara Spa, though my fiancée has an appointment there today, and I plan on using the workout facilities this morning, so we'll get a feel for that soon. And we have reservations at Tidepools, which certainly looks fantastic just based on its location directly on the lagoon.
     
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  23. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    A quick update: my fiancée used the services at Anara Spa and came back raving about the staff there. I used the workout rooms at the spa and they were more than acceptable -- about half a dozen lower-body weight machines, eight or so upper-body weight machines, and a nice selection of cardio machines, all with built-in personal TVs (which I love).

    Also, we had dinner at Tidepools and were suitably impressed. I'd still vote for Oasis as the best food on the island, but Tidepools is solid. A telling anecdote had to do with my drinks. I had a Hendricks and tonic, and then decided to switch to a Vesper. I said to our waiter, "Ask the bartender for a Vesper. If he knows what it is, perfect. If not, just bring me another Hendricks." The waiter returned a few minutes later with a Hendricks, saying that the bartender hadn't recognized it. No worries. Later in the meal, I ordered a third Hendricks, but when the waiter returned, he had a Vesper in his hand. "The bartender wanted to know what it was, so he called upstairs. They knew how to make it and had a bottle of Lillet." Nicely done.

    By the way, we had a waterside table (most of them are) and the koi were gathered nearby because the couple at the next table were feeding them (which you're not supposed to do, but the staff looks the other way). A black-crowned night heron came and sat on a rock right next to us. We assumed he was looking to grab a handout himself. After a couple of minutes of observing the scene, though, he instead plunged into the water, came up with a young koi, and flew to a rock in the middle of the lagoon to eat his catch. Quite impressive!
     
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  24. Lighthouse
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    Lighthouse Gold Member

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    Congratulations Seaflyguy!
    Have a wonderful honeymoon. When you are ready to explore there are now a number of enjoyable restaurants in the area. Our favorite is the Koloa fish market. It is a small non descript takeout which has great staff and some of the best tuna on the island for under $10 ---go over to the park and picnic or head up the Waimea Canynon. Next door to it is a great wine shop to buy champagne/wine to take back to the hotel. In the new Kukui'ula shopping complex there are a few great places to both explore and get fun and reasonably priced such as Merriman's cafe and Living Foods Market. There is a good tapas place in the complex as well.
     
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  25. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    Thanks for the well wishes!

    The tapas place in Kukui'ula Village you're talking about is Josselin's Tapas Bar & Grill. We were there last night and it's a foodie's delight. It's "tapas" in the broadest possible sense of the word -- probably "pan-Asian tasting menu" would be more accurate. Good small plates, good drinks, and good service -- not a bad word to say about the place. I'd happily return.

    Also in Kukui'ula Village is Uncle's Shave Ice. It's new, less than a month old, and we liked it so much that we talked with the owner for a while. He said he had done a great deal of research, visiting most of the shave ice vendors on the island, as well as many on O'ahu, before opening his shop. The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook says that the best shave ice on the island is at Jo Jo's, and people here have said the same thing, but the book qualifies that with a "sometimes". We went and found the service fairly awful and the "melt" (as they say) more like a sno-cone than true shave ice, which can happen with poorly-maintained equipment. Uncle's was the best shave ice I've ever had across three islands. Notably, you can have fresh fruit beneath the ice, either in place of or in addition to ice cream.

    Our favorite restaurant on the island has been Oasis in Kapa'a. It's a new-ish tasting menu / small plate restaurant, with the hook being that it's a locavore restaurant -- 85 percent of their ingredients are from Hawai'i, and most of them are from Kaua'i. The menu is short, but everything on it (at least that we tried) felt close to perfection -- my kind of place. Also, it has a beautiful oceanfront location, thus proving that the general rule of "the better the view, the worse the food" isn't an absolute. The service was outstanding; our server knew the ins and outs of the dishes as if she worked in the kitchen. If you go -- and I can't recommend it highly enough -- make your reservations via OpenTable. We did, and received a bonus amuse bouche as a result -- the first time that has happened to me thanks to OpenTable.
     

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